June 5 is World Environment Day. What should be a day of celebration is, this year, shaping up to be a day of protest and action. Business Optimizer finds out more – and asks: what can we do to help the environment on this World Environment Day?
World Environment Day is a United Nations initiative designed to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and inspire political attention and action.
This year, 2019, marks the forty-fifth year the UN has promoted World Environment Day. It was celebrated for the first time on June 5, 1974.
The 2019 event is being hosted in China. The Government of China has committed to organising World Environment Day events across multiple cities, with Hangzhou, in the province of Zhejiang, to host the main event.
The theme of World Environment Day 2019 is air pollution: approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific.
This is an important and growing problem, as 92 percent of people worldwide do not breathe clean air.
Air pollution costs the global economy $5 trillion every year in welfare costs and ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26 per cent by 2030.
World Environment Day 2019 urges governments and industry to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies, improve air quality in cities and regions across the world and progress towards meeting the organisation’s 2030 Agenda goals.
This year’s theme of air pollution follows on from last year’s theme of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
Of the plastic problem, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said, “On World Environment Day, the message is simple: reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world.”
Activists around the world will be using the day to promote the green agenda and push governments and business to respond to the climate crisis and other critical environmental concerns such as habitat destruction and the extinction of species.
Teenage activist Greta Thunberg has said we are now in the sixth great extinction – and our leaders need to start acting accordingly, because at the moment they are not.
Greta’s campaign started small, with a school strike protest on Friday afternoons in her native Sweden. However, her moving testimonies have captured the attention of the world.
World Environment day also presents an ideal opportunity for communities and individuals to explore how to take action for themselves.